THE Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) was again under fire from councillors in Limerick last week, who consider the tax “badly thought out”.
The new tax was introduced by the Finance Act 2021 to encourage the timely activation of zoned and serviced residential development land for housing.
It will apply annually at a rate of three per cent of the market value of the land.
Fine Gael councillor Stephen Keary had a motion before the Council last week seeking further clarification from the relevant government department on the RZLT.
Cllr Keary also called for the submission and commencement period to be extended by a minimum of three months to allow affected property owners to make the necessary submissions and observations.
Cllr Tom Ruddle, an auctioneer by profession, supported the motion, describing the RZLT as a “very blunt instrument”.
“This will free up development land but there is no demand at present. I think it’s crazy,” he told the council executive.
Formally seconding the motion, Cllr Liam Galvin (FG) considered the tax as a badly thought out exercise by the Government.
“I see the value in this for strategic sites and large towns and cities, but there’s land zoned residential in my own town since 2004, which will still not be developed after we are gone. It’s as simple as that.”
Independent councillor Jerome Scanlan considered the RZLT as being full of contradictions, while Eddie Ryan (IND) said that like the plans for a Directly Elected Mayor, this tax had not been thought through.
“The damage this can do to people, it needs to be done right and not made a liability to own land,” Cllr Ryan insisted.
Fine Gael councillor and auctioneer Gerald Mitchell felt the timing was wrong for such a measure.
“The conditions are not ideal and the costs are totally prohibitive,” he said.
Council Chief Executive Pat Daly agreed that as it is a new scheme there is “contradictive elements” that they would seek answers on from the department.